By the end of KS2, children are expected to be able to describe settings, characters and atmosphere, and the drama techniques explored in this session can help make them expert at this.
The first approach we look at is soundscapes, where the children use voice, props and percussion instruments to interpret a story, representing different characters places and moods through sound. We see how this works for two books suitable for KS2 - Pax, by Sara Pennypaker, and The Explorer by Katherine Rundell. Children can pick up on verbs in the text, perhaps use different instruments for different characters, and signal narrative devices such as flashbacks. Talking with pupils about which parts of text will be interpreted and why becomes an important part of a process that builds their understanding of whole texts.
If you haven’t used this approach before, Ruth Baker-Leask provide some helpful suggestions on how to structure your sessions and manage the class, to keep learning focused.
Next we turn to two more activities: voiceover and tour guide. With tour guide, children have to walk another person through the setting of a narrative they are reading, which means referring to the surroundings and the events that have taken place at each location. Voiceover, meanwhile, involves adding description over the top of an image of film clip to pick out how characters and setting influence the plot.
Experimenting with these ideas bring many benefits, but in particular they support children with understanding mood, atmosphere and setting.
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Former headteacher Ruth is now an independent education advisor, supporting schools, trusts and other organisations across the UK. She is currently chair of the National Association of Advisors in English (NAAE), an associate consultant for the National Literacy Trust (NLT) and a member of The United Kingdom Literacy Association's (UKLA) awards and members committee.
About the Course
Ruth demonstrates a range of drama and role-play teaching approaches for Year 1-Year 6, showing how important drama is in connecting children to narrative by eliciting personal responses as well as supporting children in developing a deeper understanding of the relationships between characters, making inferences from their actions.